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Winding river through native forest between mountain range

Who We Are | Ko Wai Mātou

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Man and woman presses noses in traditional maori hongi

Whānau-owned

Ngāi Tahu Tourism is owned by Ngāi Tahu, the Māori people of Te Waipounamu (the South Island).

We are dedicated to delivering benefits back to the iwi and our more than 70,000 whānau (family) owners, and to the local communities where we operate. 

The investment in tourism has helped Ngāi Tahu reconnect to areas of significant historical importance.

Queenstown and the surrounding area was traditionally an important mahinga kai (resource area) for Ngāi Tahu. It was rich with birds, fish and pounamu (greenstone), an important and valuable stone used to make tools, weapons and to trade with northern tribes. For centuries, Southern based Ngāi Tahu people would seasonally visit the area to gather these resources and return home to their more permanent coastal settlements. There are many Ngāi Tahu stories and traditions in the area.

However, because there were no permanent Ngāi Tahu settlements, settlers moved in with ease and set up, ignorant to the existing Ngāi Tahu traditions. The Crown also failed to ensure Ngāi Tahu access to the promised mahinga kai sites, which meant Ngāi Tahu lost its connection to the area.

Today, Ngāi Tahu Tourism owns businesses in the area, which has helped Ngāi Tahu reconnect to the Queenstown area and be a significant contributor to the local community.

Couple embracing overlooking alpine river

Giving Back

The profits from Ngāi Tahu Tourism are used for further investment opportunities and distributed back to the Ngāi Tahu people to support cultural, educational, social and wellbeing initiatives. 

Much of the investment has been direct to tribal members through a matched savings programme, education scholarships and grants. These distributions deliver immediate benefit to the people of the tribe.

Our Tourism Experiences

Discover the range of iconic tourism businesses which we are proud to own.